Consultation on the draft tsamdro lease guidelines underway  across the country 

Rule: Tsamdro (pastureland) reverted to government reserve forests (GRF) as per the land act 2007, could still be used as tsamdro by individuals and communities engaged in livestock rearing across the country, the draft tsamdro lease and management plan guideline states.

The draft guideline is being shared and consulted with local leaders and renewable natural resources (RNR) officials across the country for feedback and improvement.

“As per the land act, first preference on leasing will be given to its earlier owners and those communities who owned it before 2007,” the draft states.

Tsamdro will be leased as per the size of the villages, herd and cattle breed recorded with the agriculture and forests ministry. Type of tsamdro such as natural and improved besides its carrying capacity will also determine the size of tsamdro while leasing.

The draft also states that after 2018, the preference of tsamdro will be given to native communities and villages situated around tsamdro.

Only on the availability of excess tsamdro after leasing to the natives, the lease will be opened to those outside the dzongkhag. This practice will however be discontinued from 2018 as per the land act.

It also states that, no cattle migration from one dzongkhag to another will be permitted across the country as practiced now.

Section 239 of the land act states that after 10 years from the date of enactment of the Act, tsamdro shall be leased only to a lessee who is a resident of the dzongkhag where it is situated.

For instance, after 2018, herders from Bumthang can no longer take their cattle to Langthel in Trongsa, Mongar and Zhemgang, as is the practice now.

The draft guideline also states that herders in the highland to follow section 243 of the land act while leasing tsamdro in their villages.

Section 243 states, “highlanders who are directly dependent on tsamdro may retain their tsamdro rights under lease irrespective of possession of livestock and their herd size.”

The draft also states that no tsamdro around spring protection, wetland, lakes and catchment area will be leased. Save for temporary cattle sheds, huts for herders, interim fence, barns, trough and stores, construction of permanent structures are impermissible on tsamdro.

“Should permanent structures be constructed on tsamdro, the defaulter would be asked to remove such constructions on their own expanse within two months of the notice from law enforcing agencies,” the draft cautions.

Where feasible, although power tillers and farm tractors will be allowed on tsamdro, but using heavy machineries would need prior permission from the livestock sector. Though fences will be allowed to enclose tsamdro, right of way must also be respected.

Felling of trees is also restricted on tsamdro. Surface collection of sand, soil and stone is allowed on tsamdro as prescribed by the forests and nature conservation act.

The draft guideline states that the lease would be terminated without compensation for repeated offence of either felling trees or attempting activities disallowed in tsamdro lease and management plan guideline.

“Should anyone default on the payment of tsamdro fees, a fine of 24 percent over its total default amount would be imposed,” the draft plan stated.

The tsamdro lease and management plan however don’t cover sokshing, for which a separate lease and management plan guideline will be framed.

By Tempa Wangdi